Monday May 11, 2015, 2:45pm PDT
Regardless of how the gold price is doing in any given year, there will always be companies looking to mine the desirable yellow metal. In 2014, the gold price averaged 10 percent less than the previous year, which drove up demand for jewelry and electronics.
That increased demand gave worldwide gold production numbers a 2-percent boost, with increases in production coming from Australia, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic and Russia, according to the US Geological Survey (USGS). And while there were production decreases in Peru, Tanzania, South Africa and the US, some companies operating there still managed to mine some impressive amounts of gold.
Without further ado, here’s a list of the top 10 gold-producing companies of 2014, as per statistics from the USGS.
1. Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX,NYSE:ABX)
Production: 194.4 tonnes
Barrick Gold was the top gold producer in 2014, putting out 194.4 tonnes for the year. That’s a relatively steep decline from the previous year, when the industry leader produced 222.9 tonnes. The fall came as the company went through structural shifts that led to modifications in production. Those adjustments allowed Barrick to become more flexible with its finances, but changed the pace of production.
“Barrick is a considerably different company today than it was a year ago — leaner, stronger and more financially flexible,” said Jamie Sokalsky, president and CEO of Barrick, following Q1 2014. “Our first quarter all-in sustaining costs of $833 per ounce, $100 per ounce below the prior year quarter, demonstrate that our efforts to reduce costs are delivering tangible results.”
2. Newmont Mining (TSX:NMC,NYSE:NEM)
Production: 150.7 tonnes
Newmont Mining, which has significant operations in both North and South America, as well as Asia, Australia and Africa, produced 150.7 tonnes of gold in 2014, a decrease from 2013′s 157.5 tonnes. In June 2014, the company had to suspend operations at its Batu Hijau copper-gold mine due to ongoing governmental export restrictions. The company invoked the force majeure clause of its contract of work, saying it was unable to perform as contracted due to the restrictions.
“We have taken numerous steps to help resolve the export issue and support the government’s desire to increase in-country smelting,” said Martiono Hadianto, president director of PT Newmont Nusa Tenggara, which operates Batu Hijau. “In addition, the new export conditions, duty and January 2017 ban fundamentally impact Batu Hijau’s economics and conflict with our Contract of Work.”
3. AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU)
Production: 138 tonnes
AngloGold Ashanti produced 138 tonnes of gold in 2014, an increase over the 127.7 tonnes it produced in 2013. The South African company has 20 gold operations in 10 countries, as well as numerous exploration projects around the world. Last year was the second straight year of significant growth in production for the mining company, and AngloGold expects the trend to continue.
“The second year of growth is gratifying but the real focus for us is on improving margins,” said Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan, CEO of AngloGold. “Regardless of the gold price, we won’t relax the pressure on costs or hesitate to take out marginal production if needed.”
4. Goldcorp (TSX:G,NYSE:GG)
Production: 89.3 tonnes
Goldcorp produced 89.3 tonnes of gold in 2014 compared to 82.9 tonnes the previous year. The company is one of the world’s fastest-growing senior gold producers and is headquartered in Vancouver. Goldcorp operates four mines in Canada, three in Mexico and four in Central and South America.
In October 2013, the company announced the commencement of gold production at the Éléonore mine in Quebec.
“The continued ramp-up of new mines Cerro Negro and Éléonore, coupled with stable performance at our existing mines position us for a strong finish to 2014,” said Chuck Jeannes, Goldcorp’s president and CEO.
5. Kinross Gold (TSX:K,NYSE:KGC)
Production: 82.2 tonnes
Kinross Gold is a Canada-based mining company with projects in Brazil, Chile, Ghana, Mauritania, Russia and the US. In 2014, the company produced 82.2 tonnes of gold — an improvement over 77.7 tonnes in 2013. The company attributed the growth to record production at its Paracatu and Maricunga mines, located in Brazil and Chile.
“In Q3, Kinross made further significant gains in reducing costs,” said J. Paul Rollinson, CEO of Kinross. “The company is lowering its 2014 production cost sales guidance and is revising down other key cost metrics as a result of successful cost reduction initiatives at several mines, continued discipline in capital spending and the addition of low cost ounces from our newest mine, Dvoinoye.”
6. Newcrest Mining (ASX:NCM)
Production: 72.4 tonnes
Newcrest Mining produced 72.4 tonnes of gold in 2014, slightly less than the 73.5 tonnes it produced the previous year. Newcrest operates mines in four countries.
Despite the slight dip in production, the company’s Cadia East mine reached a major milestone in October 2014 with the safe propagation of Panel Cave 1 through to the surface, ahead of expectations. In doing so, the company was able to reduce its production risk and provide more flexibility for ore extraction.
“Newcrest has developed world class expertise in bulk underground mining techniques gained from the establishment of the Ridgewater sub level cave, and the Telfer sub level cave,” said Sandeep Biswas, the company’s managing director and CEO. “This experience has led to the successful achievement of this critical milestone of the project ahead of time.”
7. Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat
Production: 73 tonnes
Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combinat bumped its production to 73 tonnes of gold in 2014 compared to 70.5 tonnes produced the year before. According to the Uzbekistan-based company, the active support and constant attention from the government and President I.A. Karimov are the primary reasons it has been able to grow into a major producer of gold.
8. Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI)
Production: 63.6 tonnes
Gold Fields is a globally diversified gold producer with eight operating mines in Australia, Ghana, Peru and South Africa. In 2014, the company produced 63.6 tonnes of the metal, an increase over the 58.1 tonnes it produced in 2013. The company was pleased as total production was larger than initial expectations.
9. Polyus Gold International (LSE:PGIL)
Production: 52.8 tonnes
Polyus Gold produced 52.8 tonnes of gold in 2014. The total is just higher than its 2013 total, which was 51.3 tonnes. The company is the largest gold producer in Russia and holds over 67 million ounces of proven and probable gold reserves. Principal operations are located in Eastern Siberia and the Far East; those include five operating mines, alluvial operations and several advanced development projects.
In September, the company decided to expand production guidance as a result of swelling production rates and operational improvements.
10. Sibanye Gold (NYSE:SBGL)
Production: 49.4 tonnes
Sibanye takes the last spot on the list. It produced 49.4 tonnes of gold in 2014, a fair increase over the 44.5 tonnes put out in 2013. The company owns and operates projects in South Africa.
In September 2014, Sibanye announced record quarterly gold production. It was primarily because of excellent performance from its Kloof, Driefontein and Beatrix underground operations, as well the addition of a full quarter’s production from its Cooke operations.
2013 Gold Top 10: The Producers
While year after year the list of top gold producers doesn’t change too much, it is always worth knowing which companies are at the top of the gold producer pyramid. So while it is no surprise that the likes of Barrick Gold, Newmont and Anglogold Ashanti top the 2013 gold producer list, it might be interesting to note that last year, newcomer Sibanye Gold slipped into ninth spot… in its first year of production.
The 2013 Gold and Silver Mining Focus report by Metals Focus has been released. Here is the list of 2013 top gold producers.
Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX, NYSE:ABX)
Barrick Gold produced 7.17 million ounces of gold in 2013, down 3 percent from 2012′s level of 7.42 million ounces. The company expects to produce between 6 million and 6.5 million ounces of gold in 2014, according to its 2013 annual report. Barrick had two top-producing mines in 2013: the Cortez and the Goldstrike mines tied with 0.24 million ounces of production each. The company forecasts lower production in 2014 for the Cortez mine and higher production for the Goldstrike mine.
Newmont (TSX:NMC, NYSE:NEM)
Newmont produced 5.07 million ounces of gold in 2013, an increase of 2 percent over last year’s 4.98 million ounces. The bulk of the company’s gold production in 2013 was from Nevada, where Newmont’s Juniper mill is located, as well as its Phoenix, Carlin North Area and Emigrant production sites. The mills had higher tonnage and grades in 2013, and higher leach production also contributed to the production in Nevada, according to the report. Newmont also has projects on other continents, according to its 2013 annual report.
AngloGold Ashanti (NYSE:AU)
AngloGold Ashanti produced 4.11 million ounces of gold in 2013, up 4 percent from its 2012 output of 3.94 million ounces. The company’s largest production comes from continental Africa, specifically from its Geita mine in Tanzania, where 459,000 ounces were produced in 2013. South Africa was the second most productive area for AngloGold Ashanti in 2013, with the Mponeng mine in West Wits the standout production site with 354,000 million ounces of gold. In its 2013 annual report, AngloGold Ashanti estimates it will produce between 4.2 million and 4.5 million ounces of gold in 2014.
Goldcorp (TSX:G, NYSE:GG)
Goldcorp produced 2.67 million ounces of gold in 2013, up 11 percent from 2.4 million ounces last year. The company expects to produce between 3 million and 3.15 million ounces of gold in 2014. Its top-producing mine for 2013 was the Red Lake mine, which produced 493,000 ounces of gold. Red Lake is located in Ontario, and is one of the world’s most productive gold mines, according to the company’s website.
Kinross produced 2.55 million ounces of gold in 2013, up 5 percent from its 2012 level of 2.42 million ounces. The company expects to produce between 2.5 million and 2.7 million ounces of gold in 2014. Its most productive mine was the Kupol mine in Russia, having produced 550,188 ounces of gold in 2013. The Kupol project is in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug of the Far East Region of the Russian federation.
Newcrest (TSX:NM, ASX:NCM)
Newcrest produced 2.36 million ounces of gold in 2013, up 14 percent from 2.07 million ounces in 2012. For the 2014 financial year, Newcrest expects to produce between 2 and 2.3 million ounces of gold, according to its 2013 annual report. Its most productive mine in 2013 was the Lihir project in Papua New Guinea, which produced 649,340 ounces of gold. According to the company’s annual report, Lihir is one of the largest gold deposits in the world.
Gold Fields (NYSE:GFI)
Gold Fields produced 1.84 million ounces of gold in 2013, a drop of 40 percent from its 3.08 million ounces of production in 2012. Gold Fields’s top producing mine in 2013 was the Cerro Corona mine in Peru, with 314,000 ounces of gold, according to its 2013 annual report. The company also operates in Australasia, South Africa and West Africa. Gold Fields forecasts production in 2014 of around 2.2 million ounces of gold, according to its annual report.
Russia-based gold company Polyus produced 1.65 million ounces of gold in 2013, up 5 percent from its 1.57 million ounces of the metal in 2012. Its top producing mine was Olimpiada, with 691,000 ounces of gold produced there in 2013. Olimpiada is in Eastern Siberia, Russia, and is the company’s largest single operation, according to its website.
Sibanye produced 1.43 million ounces of gold in 2013, its first year of production. Sibanye was part of Gold Fields until 2013, and if the two companies are combined, their output increased 6 percent year-over-year, according to Moneyweb. Sibanye’s most productive project was the Driefontein operation, southwest of Johannesburg, South Africa. The mine produced a total of 6 million ounces in 2013.
Harmony Gold (NYSE:HMY)
Harmony produced 1.14 million ounces of gold in 2013, down 10 percent from 1.26 million ounces in 2012. The company expects its production will increase to between 1.3 million and 1.4 million ounces of gold in 2014. Its Target 1 mine – located, like all its projects, in South Africa - was most profitable. Mining strikes in South Africa disrupted the company’s profits and production in 2013, but this situation isn’t expected to recur in the year to come.